Independents Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez

Independents Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez


Jackie Salit, the President of Independent Voting,  sent the following letter to Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee. She invited independent activists and leaders in her network to join in this outreach. The letter urges that he meet with a group of independent leaders and take the decisive step of opening the 2020 presidential primaries and caucuses to independent voters.

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December 12, 2018

Tom Perez, Chair
Democratic National Committee
430 South Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC  20003

Dear Chairman Perez,

I write on behalf of the 34 million independent voters who cast their ballots on Election Day.  I am the President of Independent Voting, the country’s largest organization of independent voters.  I am joined in this outreach by leaders and activists from our network.  We represent America’s growing community of independents, now 44% of the electorate.  We come from across the country and from all walks of life, from diverse backgrounds and communities.

Exit polling in the midterms shows that independent voters supported House Democratic candidates over Republicans at a rate of 54% to 42%.  This support gave the Democratic Party control of the House for the first time in ten years.  That means approximately 18 million independents voted for Democratic congressional candidates.  Furthermore, more independents came out to vote in the midterms than did in 2014, resulting in a 38% increase in our participation in the November 6th election.  It is also worth noting that the political reforms enacted through popular initiatives in Michigan, Colorado, Missouri, Maryland, Florida and Utah had huge levels of support from independent voters.

Our numbers are growing, and, increasingly, we are making the difference in the outcome of elections, while also charting a path for democratic reform.¬† But we are a misunderstood and under-recognized force in the electorate.¬† Contrary to media and pundit spin, we are not ‚Äúleaners‚ÄĚ and we have no interest in becoming either Democrats or Republicans.¬† We wish to remain as independents and we wish to be recognized and respected as such.

In 2016, independent voters were locked out or otherwise restricted in the presidential primaries in 27 states.¬† This meant that over 26 million Americans could not fully participate in the process of electing the President.¬† As you no doubt recall, there was public outcry over this exclusion, particularly from young voters unfamiliar with the closed systems. ¬†They were stunned on primary day when they could not vote.¬† In some states‚ÄĒlike Arizona where 41% of Latinos are registered as independents, or Florida, where recent surveys indicate 39% of Latinos and 31% of African Americans identify as independents‚ÄĒthis exclusion negatively impacts the voting rights of minorities.

We do not want to experience this kind of exclusion again in 2020, and we are reaching out to pursue ways to remedy this problem.  Based on the estimated number of independents who voted for the Democrats in the midterms, and the number who were excluded in 2016, we surmise that your party could attract as many as 14 million additional independent voters in the 2020 primaries, if those elections were open to non-aligned voters.In 2016, your state party organizations in Oklahoma, Alaska, California, South Dakota and Nebraska changed their party rules to allow independents to vote.  No judicial or legislative action was required.  Every state party should do this in 2020.

While we, the undersigned, make no pledge or commitment with regard to supporting any particular 2020 presidential candidate‚ÄĒDemocratic, Republican, minor party or independent‚ÄĒwe believe the time has come for both governing parties, and for the Democratic Party in particular, to take the decisive step of opening the 2020 presidential primaries to independents.¬† Your party has announced that its first order of business in the new Congress will be the introduction of HB1, a political reform bill.¬† However, to be a truly inclusive democracy, non-aligned voters must have full access to the electoral process, which HB1 does not address.

We, the undersigned, represent thousands of activists across the country working towards achieving full voting rights for all Americans.  We hope that you will be available to discuss these issues at the soonest possible moment.


Jacqueline Salit
President, Independent Voting

Diane Matchett, Homer, AK

Beverly Cowling, Toney, AL

Bob Friedman, Birmingham, AL

Rex Baumgardner, Kingman, AZ

Al Bell, Peoria, AZ

Duncan Brown, Tucson, AZ

Tom and Susan Calle, Mesa, AZ

Dennis Flaherty, Chandler, AZ

Mary Maguire, Surprise, AZ

James Morrison, Tucson, AZ

Richard Sinclair, Scottsdale, AZ

Helen Abel, Richmond, CA

Jill Battalen, Oakland, CA

Bob Bogardus, Carmel, CA

Francesca Bolognini, Cambria, CA

Judy Depenau, Santa Rosa, CA

John Eldon, Encinitas, CA

Jeffrey Gerber, Los Angeles, CA

Margaret E Golden, San Mateo, CA

David Guerrero, Ventura, CA

Eric Gwynn, Westwood, CA

Susan Halvorsen, Gualala, CA

Laurel Kadish, Oakland, CA

Michael Kast, Panorama City, CA

Gerald Larey, Summerland, CA

Irene Lucia, Santa Rosa, CA

Cynthia Maher, Los Angeles, CA

Alec Marken, Mission Viejo, CA

Geraldine May, Creston, CA

Dennis McCoy, Tujunga, CA

Maureen ORorke, Corte Madera, CA

Jeanne Schneider, Carlsbad, CA

Steve Stokes, Los Angeles, CA

Eunice Stronger, Oakland, CA

Rusty Thomas, Saratoga, CA

David Weaver, Venice, CA

Roger Wilhelm, Pioneer, CA

Randy Wilson, San Francisco, CA

Gwen Ballard, Carbondale, CO

Randy Fricke, New Castle, CO

Philip Henke, Aurora, CO

Hongyi Jones, Lakewood, CO

Gregory Kozloff, Denver, CO

Fred Malo, Carbondale, CO

Michael Mcloughlin, Lakewood, CO

Susan Sandoz, Highlands Ranch, CO

Nancy Wightman, Lakewood, CO

Lori Williams, Fort Collins, CO

Katherine Wolf, Fountain, CO

Thomas Brown, North Haven, CT

Owen Charles, Madison, CT

Ernest (TJ) Elgin, Westport, CT

Tom Fulda, Rocky Hill, CT

Kirsten Fulda, New Haven, CT

James Kelly Storrs, Mansfield, CT

Carl McCluster, Derby, CT

Jacob R. Raitt, Black Rock, CT

Charlotte Scot, Old Lyme, CT

Maurice Hawkes, Washington, DC

Theodore Killheffer, Wilmington, DE

Fatima Chagani, Hialeah, FL

Gabriela Cheli, Key Biscayne, FL

Greg Flynn, New Smyrna Beach, FL

Steve Hough, Panama City, FL

Bob Inman, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Leslie Johnson, St Petersburg, FL

Francisco Pierre-Louis, Tampa, FL

Claudia Reed, Bokeelia, FL

Terry Richardson, Casselberry, FL

Loyd Sibert, Ocala, FL

Nina Tatlock, Apollo Beach, FL

Rick Thompson, Port Charlotte, FL

Jose Torres, Jacksonville, FL

Murray Dabby, Atlanta, GA

Eugene Howard, Marietta, GA

Clara T. Mills, Atlanta, GA

Barbara Franklin, Honokaa, HI

James Zampathas, Kamuela, HI

Wendie Dockstader, Iowa City, IA

Jean Marsden, Ames, IA

Rose Riker, Sioux City, IA

Kim Tremel, Coralville, IA

Steph Trujillo, Des Moines, IA

Gertrude Ann Wade, Iowa City, IA

Rick Tousley, Lewiston, ID

Brian Arata, Mundelein, IL

David Cherry, Chicago, IL

Jarell Corley, Flossmoor, IL

Nicholas Feda, Elgin, IL

Jackie Freeman, Naperville, IL

Rose Al, Elmhurst, IL

Michael Toussaint, Frankfort, IL

Daniel Shenk, Goshen, IN

Lance Gormley, Newton, KS

Bryce Johannes, Lawrence, KS

Mayjo LaPlante, Topeka, KS

Elaine Stephen, Wichita, KS

Kent Williams, Garden City, KS

Richard Hancock, Richmond, KY

Cassia Herron, Louisville, KY

Mark Ritter, Frankfort, KY

Steve Rockhold, Louisville, KY

Charles Witt, Winchester, KY

David Shepherd, Greenwell Springs, LA

Glenn Heckard, Lafayette, LA

Sarah Bayer, Cambridge, MA

Andrew Costigan, Norwood, MA

Evelyn Dougherty, W. Roxbury, MA

Michael Mullen, Maynard, MA

Lowell Ward, Dorchester, MA

Diane Whitehouse, Dorchester, MA

Nancy Woolley, Stoughton, MA

Marjory Donn, Greenbelt, MD

Stephen Knox, Middle River, MD

Janet McDermott, Trappe, MD

Dona Sauerburger, Gabrillis, MD

Carolyn Sonnen, Annapolis, MD

Bob Croce, Holden, ME

Maria Irrera, Lincolnville, ME

Jill Martel, Dedham, ME

James McNally, Island Falls, ME

Joseph Pickering, Bangor, ME

Julia Smucker, Portland, ME

William Tibby, Mount Vernon, ME

Nancy Boyd, Big Rapids, MI

Thomas Fehlner, Buchanan, MI

Roopa Hindia, Royal Oak, MI

Linda I. Hixson, Ludington, MI

Phil Leech, Spring Lake, MI

Jill Rahrig Bronkema, Bellaire, MI

Gilbert White, Haslett, MI

Christopher Yunke, Onondaga, MI

Luke Barber, Saint Louis, MO

Laszlo Fodor, Maryville, MO

Kelley Keisch, Troy, MO

Mark O’Bryan, St. Louis, MO

Kim Wright, Joplin, MO

Alan Jones, Waveland, MS

Billy Angus, Hamilton, MT

Glen Burbidge, Circle, MT

Omar Ali, Greensboro, NC

Stephen Jack, Goldsboro, NC

Elzy Lindsey, Asheville, NC

Shawn McDowell, Charlotte, NC

Robert Obermeyer, Caswell Beach, NC

Tiani Coleman, Amherst, NH

Alfred Gilbert, Manchester, NH

Kristin Noel, Chichester, NH

Philip Rose, Goffstown, NH

Peter White, Nottingham, NH

Mark Balsam, North Bergen, NJ

Sue Davies, Jersey City, NJ

Sally Jane Gellert, Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Javier Luque, Hasbrouck, NJ

Julie Nersesian, South Orange, NJ

Ramon Pe√Īa, Perth Amboy, NJ

Michael Teague, Middlesex, NJ

Kenneth Harris, Pie Town, NM

Gordon Hill, Las Cruces, NM

Tisha Le Rose, Albuquerque, NM

Catana Barnes, Reno, NV

Doug Goodman, Sparks, NV

James Young, Reno, NV

Brett Aresco, Brooklyn, NY

Naomi Azulay, New York, NY

Douglas Balder, New York, NY

David Belmont, New York, NY

Ina Bransome, Rockaway Beach, NY

Diane Buscemi, New York, NY

Joyce Dattner, Brooklyn, NY

Lisa Dombrow, Brooklyn, NY

Caroline Donnola, Brooklyn, NY

Michael Drucker, New York, NY

Jessie Fields, New York, NY

Alvaader Frazier, New York, NY

Mary Fridley, Brooklyn, NY

Sandy Friedman, New York, NY

Phyllis Goldberg, New York, NY

Steve Guarin, Bronx, NY

Kate Henselmans, New York, NY

Harriet Hoffman, New York, NY

James Horton, New York, NY

Thomas Humphrey, Camillus, NY

Regina Kolber, Brooklyn, NY

Christine LaCerva, Brooklyn, NY

Guy Lallemand, Queens, NY

Yvonne Lee, New York, NY

Kathryn Levy, Sag Harbor, NY

Sarah Lyons, Staten Island, NY

Gwen Mandell, New York, NY

Elyse Mendel, Brooklyn, NY

Gail Peck, Bronx, NY

Mark Picard, New York, NY

Marian Rich, New York, NY

Katrina Rittershofer, Yonkers, NY

Nancy Ross, Shushan, NY

Alice Rydel, New York, NY

Cathy Salit, New York, NY

Cathy Stewart, Bronx, NY

Vicky Wallace, New York, NY

Joshua Wallman, New York, NY

Joyce Weisberger, New York, NY

June Hirsh, New York, NY

Sheryl Williams, New York, NY

Janet Wootten, New York, NY

Nancy Brown, Lewis Center, OH

Cynthia Carpathios, Alliance, OH

Stephen Johnston, Marion, OH

Kathryn Little, Cleveland, OH

Constance Mayham, Cincinnati, OH

Sadie Moore Stewart, Cleveland Heights, OH

Andre Morrison, Willowick, OH

Donna Plunkett, Canton, OH

Rick Robol, Columbus, OH

John Ehret, Tulsa, OK

Nicole Rowlette, Tulsa, OK

Dave Ehrlichman, Beaverton, OR

Rick Kauffman, Sublimity, OR

Marcel Liberge, Murphy, OR

Gerald A. McDonald, Klamath Falls, OR

Bonnie Waterston, Portland, OR

Robert Anderson, Columbia, PA

Stephen Bouikidis, Jenkintown, PA

Jennifer Bullock, Philadelphia, PA

Cynthia Crumlish, Philadelphia, PA

Diana Dakey, Dalton, PA

Jan Haig, Phoenixville, PA

Kenneth Hall, Erie, PA

Deborah Meledandri, Murrysville, PA

Cathy Moorehead, Easton, PA

Michael Moorehead, Easton, PA

Ted Robb, Philadelphia, PA

Norma Van Dyke, Philadelphia, PA

Paul Calvanelli, Mechanicsburg, PA

Carl Farmer, Providence, RI

Michael Childs, Myrtle Beach, SC

Wayne Griffin, Greenville, SC

Rick Knobe, Sioux Falls, SD

Trudy Austin, Crossville, TN

Logan Mulford, Knoxville, TN

Brian Carver, Pflugerville, TX

Alie Hewell, Venus, TX

Jesus Pantel, Austin, TX

Ruth Roberts, Galveston, TX

KC Sutherland, Spring, TX

Jan Ward, Leander, TX

Randy Miller, Syracuse, UT

PJ Steiner, Taylorsville, UT

Meryl Butler, Norfolk, VA

Johnette Cosby, N. Chesterfield, VA

Tonya Edlow, Ashburn, VA

Steven Markman, Manassas, VA

Tyler Martin, Purcellville, VA

Steve Richardson, Falls Church, VA

Carl Sheusi, Lynchburg, VA

Michael Smielecki, South Chesterfield, VA

Rudolph Travers, Culpeper, VA

Ginni Treadwell, Westfield, VT

Ronald P. Wold, Randolph, VT

Mark McDougall, Gig Harbor, WA

Teri Raymond, Orient, WA

Diana Fraley, Beloit, WI

Anne Izhiman, Milwaukee, WI

Richard Lyons, Madison, WI

Sharon Nault, Manitowoc, WI

Jason Armentrout, Keyser, WV

Bernard Burnside, Clarksburg, WV

Gaylan Wright, Cheyenne, WY

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Independent Voting
417 5th Avenue, Suite 811
New York, NY 10016